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Fake Viral

That’s not SDPI’s flag atop Adi Shankaracharya’s statue. The accused is not Muslim as claimed



Bengaluru: SDPI is in news after Muzallim Pasa of SDPI from Bengaluru was arrested for instigating Bengaluru mob violence, in which 3 were killed and 100 plus arrested by Bengaluru Police. A picture of  ‘Islamic Flag’ (Madina flag, widely used during Birth anniversary of Mohammed PBUH) wrapped to Shankaracharya’s statue in Sringeri, Karnataka is going viral..

Multiple news agencies and BJP leaders shared the picture on social media with a claim that SDPI flag was planted on Sri Shankaracharya’s statue intentionally . Shobha Marandlaje(MP Udupi) and CT Ravi (Kannada & Culture and Tourism Minister ) have also shared the claim.

CT Ravi wrote in Kannada, “it is learned that the SDPI flag has been placed on the statue of Sri Sankaracharya at Sringeri and I have instructed the District Police Chief to investigate and take action against the guilty. Cooperate with all to maintain law and order”.

Mainstream media also covered the news, The Print wrote “SDPI flag’ on Adi Shankaracharya statue sparks protest in Karnataka’s Sringeri, probe on”, The New India Express wrote “Miscreants throw SDPI flag on Shankaracharya statue in Sringeri, devotees stage protest”, Asianet news wrote “SDPI flag atop Shankaracharya’s idol causes anger among seers, leaders”.

Op India (Right wing Portal)   wrote “शृंगेरी स्थित आदि शंकराचार्य की मूर्ति को इस्लामी झंडे में लपेटा: आरोपित रफ़ीक, साहिल गिरफ्तार, SDPI पर साज़िश का आरोप” (Islamic Flag wraped in Adi Shankaracharya statue, Accused Rafik and Sahil arrested, SPDI may be behind this), Organiser (RSS affiliated Magazine Publisher) wrote “Jihadis drape Islamic flag on Shankaracharya statue in holy city of Shringeri; Two Muslim youth Rafiq and Sahil detained by police”.

Claim 1: SDPI flag on Adi Shankaracharya statue sparks protests in Karnataka’s Sringeri

Claim 2: Accused Rafik and Sahil arrested, SPDI may be behind this

FactO Check: Claim 1 

Flag wrapped around Adi Shankaracharya statue isn’t a SDPI flag, it was an Islamic flag (widely used during the Birth anniversary celebration of Mohammed PBUH), in the below picture you can see the difference between Flag found atop Adi Shankaracharya statue and the SDPI Flag.

In a Tweet by Chikkamagaluru District Police, mentioned that during the investigation it was found the banner does not belong to any political party or organization.

FactO Check: Claim 2

Another claim made by OpIndiaOrganiser and Op India Editor Nupur Sharma that accused Rafik and Sahil has been detained is also found to be fake.

According to The New Minute, the accused, Milind, consumed alcohol, and to cover himself from rain, had taken a banner from Sringeri Jamiya Mosque and later placed the same over a pavilion on the statue of Shree Shankaracharya, Chikkamagaluru SP Hakay Akshay Mahindra said in a statement.

Conclusion: Both the claims made by news media agencies OpIndia and Organiser are found to be False.




Fake Viral

Fact Check: Images from a Bangladeshi short film falsely being shared as from a Madrasa



A collage of images where a Muslim man wearing a skullcap behaving inappropriately with a girl is viral across social media with a claim that Maulvi Sahab is abusing a student in a Madrasa. Last week there was a similar claim that went viral, where a Bangladesh teacher sexually harassing a student is viral as from Indian Madrasa. Please find it here.

This time, a similar claim is viral targeting Madrasa. A Twitter user @bhagwa_surajTPN has posted a screenshot from the video with a caption questioning the dignity of Indian Madarsa. The caption reads as, “मदरसे में मौलवी साहब सलमा को कलमा पढ़ाते हुए बंद करो ये मदरसे जो अश्लीलता वेश्यावृत्ति के अड्डे बन गये हैं ( Maulvi sahib Salma teaching Kalma to Salma in madrasas, these madrasas which have become the bases of obscenity prostitution)”.

The claim is viral across Facebook as well. A user Shatrughan Kumar has posted the photo in a Group called Hindu Rashtra Hindustan.

FactO Check:

A reverse image search of the viral photo took us to multiple YouTube videos. After going through multiple videos, we have identified that the viral photos were actually taken from a Bangladeshi Short film (Watch here). The short film is about sexual exploitation and sexual offenses and was published on YouTube, a year ago. We also found a video posted by BD Teach News channel which has the same images. The Channel with over 1 Million subscribers calls out the actor for having a beard and wearing a skull cap and acting in obscene films, just for views and money.

Conclusion: It is evident that the images used in the viral claims are from a short film and not a Madrasa. The above claims are fake, misleading, and Islamophobic.



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Fake News

Fact Check: No, Girls dressed up in lungis in the viral image are not protesting a ban on jeans



A picture of group of girls dressed up in lungis is going viral across social media with a claim that a college in Kerala has imposed ban on wearing Jeans, and these girls have protested the ban by wearing lungis. Many users across Twitter and Facebook have shared this viral image with the same claim.

Shahid Siddiqui, a former Member of Parliament and Managing Director & Chief Editor of Weekly Nai Duniya has shared the viral image with a claim, “College in Kerala banned jeans, girls came in lungis, college still thinking what to do next”. The tweet has garnered over 735 retweets and 5k likes. Archived here

To our surprise, Khushbu Sundar, ex-Congress leader and now BJP leader from Tamil Nadu has retweeted the same image tweeted by a Twitter account @WomenWithTruth. Khushbu said in her tweet, “If this is a true version, Bravo!!! more power to you”. Archived here

The viral image is also shared in Facebook by many users with a similar claim College in Kerala banned jeans, girls came in lungis, college still thinking what to do next. इसे कहते हैं रचनात्मक प्रतिरोध। जियो भारत की बच्चियों और डूब मरो नैतिकता के ठेकेदारों ….” Please find here and here. The same image was also viral in 2016. Many users have shared the same image, with the same claim. Times of India Fashion & Beauty has shared the image from their official Twitter handle with the same viral claim.

FactO Check:
A reverse image search of the viral image has directed us to several articles published in 2015. Tupaki, a popular South-Indian website for film news, has published an article on August 12, 2015, featuring the viral image along with Mahesh Babu’s lungi-clad look in the movie Srimanthudu. The article claimed that the image is from USA, where young Indian fans of Mahesh Babu expressed their love for their favorite actor by wearing a lungi.

Conclusion: The same image was also viral in 2016. Some of the social media users claim that this picture is older than 2015, and it is from a college fest. We found out in our research that there was no ban on Jeans in colleges in Kerala in 2015 or even now. So the above claims are baseless and false.

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Fake News

Unrelated Video of a woman viral as nurse completed IAS and posted as Collector



A video of a woman walking through a room surrounded by people cheering, touching her feet and showering her with rose petals is going viral across social media with a claim, “She was a Nurse in Trivandrum Medical College. She completed IAS, and posted as District Collector in Kudagu. Because of her nursing experience, she could help Kudagu District to totally come out of Covid. She is getting a special treat and honor from the people of Kodagu”. The video is viral across Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

A Twitter user @tweetanum shared the video from her account with the same claim. (Archive)

Some other Twitter users @N4LLANANBAN and @umakantpandya has also shared the same video with the same claim. The viral video was also shared across Facebook. Many users on Facebook have shared this video to public groups even though Facebook has flagged the content as false information. here, here, here, here.

FactO Check:

FactO News has already debunked this fake news/claim when the same video was shared with a claim by falsely identifying the woman in the video as Hathras rape case victim. Now the same video is viral again with a different claim. A reverse image search of some keyframes of the video would direct to a video posted in an YouTube channel on 5th March 2020. The caption of the video reads as”GRAND WELCOME DIAMOND LEADER SAFE SHOP MS NAZIA MADAM”. We found many videos of Nazia in YouTube which proves that she is NOT the District Collector of Kodagu, Karnataka.

What is a Safe Shop?

According to their website,  they sell fashion, health/beauty, and lifestyle products. Their business model is based on MLM architecture.

Who is the Woman?

The woman in the viral video is identified as Nazia Anwata (aka Nazia Madam), a senior associate with Safe Shop. She was supposedly the first woman Diamond leader of Safe Shop, India. You can find multiple videos of her speeches in different Safe shop events here.

Conclusion: It is evident that the woman in the viral video is not the District Collector of  Kodagu, KA. She is Nazia Anwata, a Senior Associate of Safe shop, a Delhi-based MLM business. So the above claims are false and misleading.


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